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Random thoughts and news in the world of video games.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Nintendo makes the big push for digital games with Wii U Deluxe incentives

Nintendo has released details about the Deluxe Digital Promotion for the upcoming Wii U console, which releases Nov. 18. Those who purchase the Wii U Deluxe edition for $349.99 will get some very nice bonuses for doing so.

Deluxe owners who buy digital content for the Wii U, including downloadable games from the Nintendo eShop, and buy download cards from stores will earn points from their purchases, roughly 10 percent of the eShop price. For example, buying New Super Mario Bros. U for $59.99 would earn you 599 points. Every 500 points earned gets the participant a $5 code to be used in the eShop for the Wii U or 3DS. The best part? The credit does not expire.

Currently, the promotion lasts Nov. 18, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2014, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it extended if this is a success. Unfortunately, this is not available to those who purchase the Wii U Basic edition for $299.99. That could also change in the future, but for now the Deluxe edition seems to be the way to go since you're getting Nintendo Land, extra storage space and other goodies for the extra $50.

What's also important to note here is Nintendo's big push for digital games. I'm slowly getting to the point where physical copies are taking up too much shelf space, and it's so much easier just downloading a game and having it right there in the system. Plus, Nintendo's saving some money with a little less of the packaging and distributing of physical copies.

While I don't expect retail to go away anytime soon (you don't want to anger big-box stores after all), you can see the writing on the wall. And with incentives like these, I say bring it on.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Madden NFL 13 Week 8 simulation: Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks

The Madden version of the Detroit Lions continued their dominance against the Chicago Bears while the real ones struggled at Soldier Field. Up next are the Seattle Seahawks. Here is a simulation of Sunday's game.

Matthew Stafford got off to a horrendous start, throwing an interception two minutes into the game. The Seahawks tried to capitalize, but fell short on a fake punt attempt to give the ball back to the offense. Stafford and Co. made sure to move the ball down the field on their next drive, resulting in a 22-yard field goal by Jason Hanson. That would be all the scoring after one quarter of play.

The Lions got into the swing of things in the next 15 minutes, thanks to some key turnovers. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch fumbled the ball, which was scooped up by the defense. After moving downfield with ease, Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson in the corner of the end zone to give the Lions a 10-0 lead.

Near the end of the half Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson led the offense down the field, but a Ndamukong Suh sack followed by an interception by Jonte Green killed their momentum. With time left on the clock the Lions' offense marched down the field, and Hanson hit his second field goal of the game from 32 yards out to make it 13-0.

In the third quarter the Seahawks threatened some more, but Lynch once again fumbled the ball to the Lions. No points would be scored in this quarter.

However, the fourth quarter was when things started to unravel for the Lions. Stafford tossed his second interception of the day, and the Seahawks were able to capitalize. Wilson tossed a simple 1-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice to get the Seahawks on the board, 13-7.

The Lions needed to kill some clock, but quickly punted on a 3 and out on their next possession. After receiving the ball around midfield, Wilson once again tossed a TD pass, a 25-yarder to Golden Tate to give the Seahawks the lead, 14-13.

With 6:30 left on the clock, things got crazy. Stafford tossed his third interception of the game at midfield, but Wilson gave it right back with a pick of his own. However, the offense could not move the ball and had to punt with just under three minutes left in the game.

The Seahawks wouldn't be stopped. After completing numerous first downs, Steven Hauschka booted a 31-yard field goal to give the Seahawks a 17-13 lead with 55 seconds to go. The Lions ran out of gas, turning the ball over on downs, and their (Madden) winning streak was snapped.

Stafford threw 25/41 for 247 yards, one TD and three interceptions, while Mikel Leshoure had a very quiet day rushing for 38 yards on 21 carries. For the Seahawks, Wilson threw 18/25 for 213 yards, two TDs and two interceptions, while Lynch had 71 yards rushing on 27 carries and two fumbles.

Madden record: 5-2
Real record: 2-4

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Borderlands Legends coming to the iPhone and iPad on Oct. 31

2K Games and Gearbox Software are bringing the hit franchise Borderlands to smartphones and tablets. Borderlands Legends will release on Oct. 31 for iOS: $4.99 for the iPhone and $6.99 for the iPad.

Viewed from the top-down perspective, the original four vault hunters from the first game — Brick, Lilith, Mordecai and Roland — are the stars. Borderlands Legends blends action RPG and strategy elements, allowing players to level up characters to their liking while fighting off familiar foes including Skags and Bandits. 

Since the franchise is all about the loot, it'll be interesting to see how many guns and shields are available, considering the cheap price. Hopefully there's a lack of micro-transactions involving better items, which would ruin the fun of the game.

It's also a very interesting decision to release this game on smartphones and tablets, instead of on more dedicated handheld devices like the PS Vita, which easily has the specs to handle a game of this nature. It's the right decision though, since the PS Vita has failed to catch fire in the marketplace. It probably would have cost $40-$50, and a lot less copies would be purchased.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Quick thoughts on Code of Princess

I've been beating down a variety of enemies with a giant sword in Code of Princess, a side-scrolling action RPG for the Nintendo 3DS. Here are some thoughts on the game.
The story isn't anything special as we've all heard something along these lines before: In a world of man and monster living at peace, monsters have risen up against man. Solange, the princess of DeLuxia who wears very little clothing, escapes the castle with the DeLuxcaliber, a legendary sword. The kingdom has fallen, and it's up to her and a kooky cast of characters to save the day. Atlus did a very good job localizing the game and the voice acting is superb. The graphics and music are nice, and everything is easy to read.
Those who've played Guardian Heroes back in the day will understand all of the quirks of a side-scrolling beat 'em-up RPG. Attacking is done by mashing buttons and performing combos. More damage can be dealt by locking onto an enemy and activating Burst, which doubles attack power but drains magic points. The goal for pretty much every stage is to kill all the enemies or a boss if they appear, and because of this Code of Princess feels repetitive after a while.
The main campaign took me four to five hours to complete, but there are a ton of different bonus quests to complete, plus you can play through the story as different characters. Luckily, you can hold down the shoulder buttons to skip through cut scenes and story sequences to get into combat very quickly.

Watch out for my full review at

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Madden NFL 13 Week 7 simulation: Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears

Week 6 was a good week for the Detroit Lions, as the Madden and real versions defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in dramatic fashion. Up next is a Monday Night Football showdown against the Chicago Bears. Here is a simulation of the match-up.

After forcing a very quick Bears punt to start the game, Mikel Leshoure took over by running more than 30 yards on the Lions' first drive. The Bears were able to halt him and the offense, resulting in a 25-yard field goal by Jason Hanson. The longtime Lion would boot through another, a 40-yarder, to give the Lions a 6-0 lead after one quarter of play.

However, Hanson wouldn't be perfect, missing a 50-yard attempt in the second quarter. The Lions' defense continued to shut out the Bears until under two minutes to go. Matthew Stafford threw an interception that was returned to Lions territory, and Robbie Gould kicked a 44-yard field goal to make it 6-3 at halftime.

While the first half of the game was a field goal-fest, the third quarter was a punt-fest, and nothing of note happened. The fourth was action-less, too, until Bears running back Matt Forte woke up and powered his way down the field late in the quarter. Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to tie the game with under three minutes remaining.

Once again, the Lions found themselves in a potential game-winning drive situation. Leshoure didn't make things easy, fumbling the ball at midfield, recovered by the Lions, and fumbling again around the 20-yard line. The Lions recovered it again, and Hanson would boot through the easy 26-yard game-winning field goal, ending an ugly, touchdown-less game in Chicago.

Stafford threw 22/26 for 208 yards and one interception, Leshoure rushed for 88 yards and Calvin Johnson caught six passes for 73 yards. For Chicago, Jay Cutler threw 17/25 for 112 yards and Forte rushed for 73 yards.

Madden record: 5-1
Real record: 2-3

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Atlus releases English screenshots for Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan for the 3DS

Atlus has released the first English screenshots for Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan, slated for release in early 2013 for the 3DS. While it may not seem like much, Nich Maragos, project lead for the game, explained an important part of the localization process: the font.

"You'll see it on every screen of the game, more often than you will any other visual element," Maragos said in a press release. "So over the course of a 30-or 40-hour game, it has a lot of burden to carry."

The font selected? It's called Neuton, and looking at the screenshots, yeah, it looks good to me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 launch trailer features explosions, mayhem and AC/DC

The Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 launch trailer has been released ... even though the game isn't launching until Nov. 13 for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 (Nov. 18 for the Wii U when the system launches). I guess it's never too early to start the hype train. And since it's going to sell a bazillion copies, be prepared to see this game on the Top 10 NPD sales charts for a long, long time.

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Quick thoughts on Dance Central 3

I've been dancing my butt off to Vanilla Ice, Usher, Nicki Minaj and more in Dance Central 3 for the Microsoft Kinect. Here are some thoughts on the game.

If you've played any of the first two games before, you know what you're getting into. The menus look the same and the basic dancing mechanics remain relatively unchanged. You mimic the characters onscreen and the Kinect tracks your movements, which for the most part does a fine job doing so with rare hiccups. Sometimes I thought I was nailing a move down but the game wouldn't register it, and then there were times I knew I was off by a mile but the game thought I was performing it flawlessly. So it kind of evens out in the end.

The story mode is awkward but serves it purpose of teaching a little history of dance well. The evil Dr. Tan wants to take over the world of dance, and it's up to you and Dance Central Intelligence to stop him. You'll time travel to different decades and dance to the beat of their most popular songs, unlocking a variety of crazes along the way. If you're not a natural dancer like me, progressing through the story can get difficult since there are tough star requirements to achieve.

The most important part of any dancing game is the soundtrack, and Dance Central 3 is quite an impressive package. Oldies like Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" and "Y.M.C.A" from the Village People are featured alongside modern hits including "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" from Kelly Clarkston, "Boyfriend" from Justin Bieber and "Sexy And I Know It" from LMFAO. The 40-plus songs available on the disc are plenty to keep you busy, even though more songs will be available to download as DLC.

 Check out my full review at

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Madden NFL 13 Week 6 simulation: Detroit Lions vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Madden has been awfully nice to the Detroit Lions this year, giving them a 3-1 record out of the gate while the real-life version has stumbled to a 1-3 start. This Sunday they take a trip to Philadelphia to battle the Eagles. Here is a simulation of the Week 6 matchup.

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick threw two interceptions in the first quarter, but the Lions could not capitalize on them. Other than a short Eagles field goal, both offenses struggled to move the ball during the first 15 minutes.

In the second quarter, Matthew Stafford threw his first and only interception of the game in the end zone to give the ball back to the Eagles. Once again, the Lions offense failed to score points, and the Eagles took a 9-0 lead into the half after kicking two more 3-pointers.

After another Eagles field goal, Jason Hanson booted one from 53 yards out to get the Lions on the board in the third. Stafford finally found his magic late in the quarter, connecting with Nate Burleson for a 9-yard touchdown pass. After three quarters, the Eagles held a slim 12-10 lead.

At the start of the fourth, the Lions defense forced a key punt at midfield to begin the comeback. Stafford found a wide-open Calvin Johnson to move the ball into Eagles territory, but would have to settle for a 47-yard Hanson field goal to take a 13-12 lead. The Eagles would go nowhere on their next possession, but the Lions had to punt away, too, with under five minutes remaining.

A Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy rushing attack moved the Eagles into Lions territory. Here, the Lions forced a key fumble on McCoy, but receiver DeSean Jackson was in the right place at the right time to scoop up the ball and take it to the Lions' 5-yard line. The defense was able to hold the Eagles to their fifth field goal of the game to take a 15-13 lead with over a minute remaining.

But Stafford and the Lions would not give in - thanks to a major mishap from the Eagles defense. As time was running out, Stafford found a wide-open Johnson running down the middle of the field for the game-winning 67-yard TD pass. A 2-point conversion to Titus Young boosted the score to 21-15, sealing the victory.

Stafford went 27/39 for 323 yards with two TDs and one interception. Running back Mikel Leshoure rushed 16 times for 32 yards, and Johnson caught five passes for 143 yards to go with his game-winning TD. For the Eagles, Vick went 10/16 for 82 yards and two interceptions to go along with 44 rushing yards, and McCoy ran the ball 28 times for 93 yards.

Madden record: 4-1
Real record: 1-3

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Borderlands 2 DLC, Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty, coming Oct. 16

Gearbox Software has announced the first campaign add-on for the critically acclaimed Borderlands 2, which soared high on video game sales charts for September, according to NPD. Titled Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate's Booty, it will release on Oct. 16 for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.

This is the first of four DLC campaigns. It will cost $9.99 or 800 Microsoft Points, but those Borderlands 2 junkies who purchased the Season Pass for $29.99 or 2400 Microsoft Points know they already will own it, plus the last three add-ons coming in the future. It's a risky purchase since you don't know what you're getting. Hopefully Gearbox delivers.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Crashmo, NightSky, Fluidity: Spin Cycle highlight Nintendo 3DS eShop offerings this holiday season


Nintendo is making a heavy push this holiday season for the eShop on the 3DS. On Oct. 25, NightSky will launch. This is an action-puzzle game where the player must solve various challenges in worlds broken into different areas. A sphere is moved around using realistic physics.


Crashmo will release Nov. 22 and is the sequel to Pushmo, a game that's a must-have for any 3DS owner. There will be new gravity mechanics, and floating blocks, doors and move switches will be in full force in lots of puzzles. Like in the original, Crashmo will feature more puzzle-creation fun that can be shared with others.

Fluidity: Spin Cycle releases Dec. 27 and will have players tilting their 3DS every which way to help a puddle of water called Eddy makes its way through a magical, maze-like world. Goop monsters will attempt to stop Eddy, who can transform into a block of ice and a steam cloud to solve puzzles. A land filled with dinosaurs to the modern world await players.

Other games include Liberation Maiden, Aero Porter and Crimson Shroud to be released before the holiday season, and Tokyo Crash Mobs, a fast-paced action-puzzle game, will arrive on the eShop in early 2013.

On Oct. 18, Super Mario 3D Land, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Star Fox 64 3D and Mario Kart 7 will be available for purchase on the eShop, if owning physical copies isn't your thing. The digital future is here and in full force.

On the Virtual Console, Mario Golf launches Oct. 11, Castlevania: The Adventure on Oct. 25, Ninja Gaiden on Nov. 8, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link on Nov. 22, Wario Land II on Dec. 20, and Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels on Dec. 27.

Angry Birds Star Wars coming Nov. 8. Because Rovio doesn't have enough money yet

Angry Birds is never going to die.

Rovio has announced a collaboration with Lucasfilm to create Angry Birds Star Wars, launching worldwide on Nov. 8. That's right, Star Wars. The game and, of course, merchandise will feature all those cute birds and pigs starring as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader and other iconic Star Wars characters.

Merchandise will be available at retailers starting Oct. 28. Halloween costumes and apparel, action figures, plush toys and more will be unleashed onto the world. I can see dollar bills piling up already.

The game will be available on iOS, Android, Amazon Kindle Fire, Mac, PC, Windows Phone and Windows 8.

With the addition of Star Wars, what other huge collaborations could we see in the future? Indiana Jones? Harry Potter? We already got Green Day for crying out loud.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Quick thoughts on Resident Evil 6

I've been blasting my way through hordes of mutated zombies in Resident Evil 6 lately. Here are some thoughts on the game so far.

Featuring three main campaigns plus a bonus one, Resident Evil 6 is much more action-oriented than survival horror, even though Leon Kennedy's story is the most reminiscent of the older games. Chris Redfield and Jake Muller's stories are jam-packed with craziness, which may turn off the hardcore fans of the franchise.

Presentation-wise, this game is great looking. Despite a few hiccups in the frame rate and the occasional zombie skipping around, the graphics are impressive. The environments are filled with neat details and the cutscenes are fun to watch. Voice acting is superb, too.

Unfortunately, what's holding Resident Evil 6 back from being the blockbuster Capcom intended it to be are the wonky control decisions. Despite the elimination of tank controls, which is a big plus in my mind, other movements like dodging and rolling require pressing the aim button plus another, when it should be more simple. There's also way too many button prompts like wiggling the control stick back and forth like a mad man to get a zombie off you, which gets annoying after a while.

Watch out for my full review at

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Paper Mario: Sticker Star game trailer features lots of stickers and NYARGLEBARGLE!

Nintendo has released a game trailer for Paper Mario: Sticker Star, scheduled for release Nov. 11 for the 3DS. It looks like what you would expect from a Paper Mario game, and that's not a bad thing. It features a thin Mario running around a paper world with a squad of Toads, grabbing stickers, and eliminating Goombas.

Also, Baby Bowser yelled out some mysterious gibberish before yanking away a wooden bridge. What is this NYARGLEBARGLE nonsense? Well, I did what any super investigative video game journalist would do: I placed it in an anagram creator and pored over the results. It could mean "Grab Generally" but I think it's "Grab All Energy," since you're grabbing all these stickers that are used to change things in the world.

My work here is done.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Assassin's Creed III to get plenty of DLC, featuring George Washington as king of America

Ubisoft has - you guessed it - announced a Season Pass for Assassin's Creed III, which will feature plenty of downloadable content. Five DLC packs will be released within six months after the Oct. 30 launch for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

A new single-player campaign will take place in an alternate universe where our nation's first president, George Washington, actually became the king of America. Titled "The Tyranny of King Washington," three episodic content packs will become available for this alternate version of history. New maps and characters will be for multiplayer modes along with other single player missions. The Season Pass will cost 2400 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live and $29.99 on PlayStation Network.

While I don't agree with announcing extra paid content prior to a game's release, especially nearly a full month before, I do like the premise of it. I blame that on watching these types of History Channel specials growing up. Plus, that promotional picture featuring Washington looks awesome.

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